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    A debate in Branford about whether to restrict sales of firearms and ammunition in parts of town is over.

    The Branford Rules and Ordinances Committee met on Tuesday night and voted against drafting an ordinance that would restrict the sales of firearms near schools, parks and playgrounds. 

    Members of the rules and ordinances committee said, in part, that they would be reckless if they created an ordinance the town attorney couldn’t back legally and that could open up them to a lawsuit.

    The town attorney said the committee needed to find reasons that dealt with public health and public safety.
    A new outdoor sporting goods store prompted a discussion about drafting the ordinance, but former Branford police commissioner David Jacobs said the gun store is not the real issue.

    “I don't have a problem with the guns store. I wish the Congress would get going and make sure that they had adequate background checks and also did something as far as the mental health issue,” Jacobs said.

    Reaction in town is mixed.

    “As long as it's legal and they follow all the rules, I don't see that it should make any difference,” Hansen said.

    “Everybody has the right to bear firearms, as long as you're not a felon,” Anthony Gambardella, of Branford, said.

    But Raduoane Nasry, of Branford, said the store is not something the town needs.

    “It's the least of things we need in Branford. Branford was just nice without any gun stores,” Nasry said.


     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Branford officials have decided against an ordinance to ban gun and ammo sales in parts of town.Branford officials have decided against an ordinance to ban gun and ammo sales in parts of town.

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    A 12-week-old puppy was found after being locked in an abandoned car at a Kansas City tow lot.

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    Shirlene King thought the moment would never come, but after a 30-year courtship, she finally got her wedding day.

    She married her sweetheart of three decades, 88-year-old Jack Wright, on Tuesday.

    They were wed in the hallway of the oncology department at the West Los Angeles veterans hospital, where a gravely ill Wright is receiving chemotherapy. Doctors, nurses and friends looked on during the hospital's first-ever wedding.

    Despite his serious condition, Wright's humor and devotion were evident.

    In response to one of the vows -- instead of answering with the traditional “I do” or “I will” -- Wright answered, “You bet your sweet life.”

    It was a long time coming for the untraditional couple, and Wright admitted to being “a little teary eyed.”

    Making the wedding more unusual is that Wright is believed to be the only living survivor of Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II.

    He then went on to become a well-known figure in Marina del Rey -- where he lived on his boat and serenaded locals with his accordion. In the harbor, he went by Captain Jack.

    One day in 1983, he met the much younger Shirlene King, who is now 57.

    “We were at a hot tub party and I was the only one wearing a bathing suit. He swam over to me and said, ‘Can I kiss you?’ I said no. He swam away, but he never stopped asking.”

    When Captain Jack became sick, he knew it was time to make it official with his long-time love.

    “I have to undergo several treatments. She’s been by my side every step of the way,” Wright said.

    Newlyweds Mr. and Mrs. Jack Wright perhaps prove you’re never too old for a happily ever after.


    "Captain Jack" Wright and his longtime sweetheart Shirlene King were married at Veterans Hospital on Tuesday, May 7, 2013.

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    Fairfield police have arrested a Bridgeport man suspected of committing several residential burglaries in recent weeks.

    Police arrested Michael J. Ziman Jr., 26, of Bridgeport, on Tuesday.

    Detectives were conducting surveillance in the Southport area of town and found a dark blue Lexus ES 330 four-door sedan parked, unoccupied and running at Barberry Road and Juniper Lane.

    After several minutes, a man got into the car and sped off, police said.

    Officers stopped the Lexus and detained Ziman on suspicion of a burglary. 

    Detectives searched the area and found signs of forced entry to the back door of a Juniper Lane home. Soon after, the homeowner arrived to report a burglary and said items were taken, police said.

    When police detained Ziman, they said they found jewelry believed to have been stolen in a burglary. 

    Ziman’s vehicle was towed from the scene and impounded at headquarters, where detectives processed it and recovered more items believed to have been used to perpetrate the crime of burglary, police said.

    Ziman was charged with third-degree burglary and his bond was set at $100,000. He is due in court on May 21.

    Police are crediting an astute resident with providing details to police that ultimately led to Ziman’s arrest. 
     
    Police said Ziman is suspected in several residential burglaries in Fairfield in April and detectives are investigating. 
     



    Photo Credit: Fairfield Police

    Police said Michael Ziman is suspected in burglaries in Fairfield.Police said Michael Ziman is suspected in burglaries in Fairfield.

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    Connecticut will receive more than $6 million in emergency disaster relief from the U.S. Department of the Interior to repair and rebuild parks, public lands and refuges damaged by Superstorm Sandy.

    The funds include $5 million for the preservation and restoration of historic properties damaged during the storm and more than $1 million to remove debris and restore safe public access to the McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, according to the Connecticut Congressional delegation.

    “These Department of Interior funds will go a long way towards restoring and repairing vital public parks and sites damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Our public parks and historic sites are treasures that should be restored and protected from future damage so that generations to come can continue to enjoy them. As storms like Sandy become more frequent, we will continue to advocate for additional funds to ensure that communities, businesses and families have the aid they need to not only recover from disasters like Sandy, but to rebuild in ways that make future damage less likely," the delegation stated.

     



    Photo Credit: AP

    People stand next to a house collapsed from superstorm Sandy in East Haven, Conn. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)People stand next to a house collapsed from superstorm Sandy in East Haven, Conn. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

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    The statistics are sobering. Newark, N.J., has a murder rate double that of the Bronx. A third of its residents live in poverty. Only 40 percent of its students graduate from high school. Behind those numbers, though, are people trying to beat the odds.

    In his new book, “A Chance to Win: Boyhood, Baseball, and the Struggle for Redemption in the Inner City,” reporter Jonathan Schuppe chronicles that effort through the story of a fledgling Little League team, its improbable coach and inspiring players.

    At the center of the narrative is Rodney Mason, a drug-peddling ex-con left paralyzed from a drive-by shooting who decides he can make a difference by starting a baseball team in a city where America’s pastime holds little allure.

    Below is an excerpt from “A Chance to Win,” published May 7 by Henry Holt:

    For weeks, Rodney had been combing the neighborhood for recruits, but now it was late March, a couple of weeks before the start of the 2008 Little League season, and he had only a handful of completed registration forms.

    Baseball just didn’t seem to be on many people’s minds. Some kids had actually told Rodney that they hated baseball, recoiling as if it were some kind of social disease. He couldn’t understand it. This was the national pastime, the game everyone played when he was growing up.

    And today was the day. If kids didn’t show up this morning, then they never would.

    Rodney hoisted himself out of the tub and dried off. He slipped on a condom, fitted to a urine collection bag, and strapped the contraption to his right leg. He ironed his jeans and white T-shirt and switched to a battery-powered scooter that the family of an elderly neighbor had given him after the old man died.

    Then he rode a lurching elevator to the lobby and rolled out in the gray chill. The neighborhood was just starting to come alive, people stepping onto their stoops, assessing the weather, waving to neighbors, retreating inside.

    The field was empty. So was the parking lot. Rodney pulled up to the dugout, jammed his hands into the pockets of his Yankees windbreaker, and waited. Please god, he prayed. Help me make this happen.

    ***

    Sometimes, when he was not working and his children were at school, Thaiquan Scott stopped by the Jackie Robinson South Ward Little League’s old field at the St. Peter’s Recreation Center to catch a game.

    The diamond was lousy with lumps and the quality of play was terrible, but he occasionally noticed a gifted athlete who, if he found the right coach and stuck with it, could probably go on to play in high school or college. Thaiquan wondered why more black kids weren’t interested in baseball.

    Thaiquan and his family lived on the second floor of a narrow three-family house with cream-colored vinyl siding on Peshine Avenue. Their block was not what you’d call kid-friendly, though there were many children.

    Dope fiends and drunks puttered around in the abandoned lot across the street. Brash young drug dealers played noisy games of dice on the stoops of homes, the tenants too frightened or too complacent to complain. A few days after the Scotts moved in, a thirty-nine-year-old woman was killed in a drive-by around the corner.

    Thaiquan and his wife wanted to leave Peshine Avenue, but their house was one of the only places they could find that was cheap and large enough for the seven of them. So they made the best of it by keeping the kids busy and trying to expose them to the world outside the city.

    Thaiquan saw baseball, and sports in general, as a bulwark against the streets; the more his kids played, the less chance that something bad would ever happen to them. His father had been an amateur player – a damn good one, he’d heard, but drinking got in the way, and the old man left home without ever passing the game on to Thaiquan.

    Now he wanted to give his two oldest children – Nasir, his biological son, and Kaneisha, his stepdaughter – that chance he never got. He pledged that as soon as they reached playing age, he’d sign them up for Little League.

    In late March, Thaiquan got word that Nasir and Kaneisha had been assigned to a team. They went to meet their coach and were surprised to see that he was in a wheelchair. Thaiquan introduced himself and felt like he understood Rodney immediately.

    “He’s from the struggle,” Thaiquan said later. “But that don’t mean he’s not about the kids. He’s a product of his environment, so he knows how the kids are and how they grow up. I could tell right away that he was doing it from the heart.”

    ***

    It began with a trickle: a child here, another there, and soon there was a crowd. Among the first arrivals was Derek Fykes, who arrived with his grandmother Irene. He was ten but had the face of a tired man: eyes narrowed, brow rumpled, lips slack.

    He had just been removed from his father’s apartment by the state child welfare agency. This wasn’t the first time he’d been abruptly pulled from one home and placed in another. Probably wouldn’t be the last, either. Irene worried about the lasting damage of an unsettled childhood. But baseball was one of the few things that helped Derek regain his footing.

    Derek was an anomaly in that he’d played Little League before. Just one other boy, a heavy trash-talker named William (who went by “Pooh”), had any experience. The others were young and scrawny and clueless; most didn’t have gloves, and some didn’t know if they threw right-handed or left-handed.

    DeWan Johnson, a magnetic 10-year-old with a gap-toothed grin and nubby dreadlocks that poked from his head like spring shoots, was one of the most promising recruits. No one had taught him how to swing a bat or throw a ball or encouraged him to play baseball at all, for that matter. What little he knew about the game came from watching kids in the park and the Yankees on TV. He had an untethered rocket of an arm and bravely planted himself in front of hard-hit grounders. Rodney assigned him to third base.

    The kids were arriving in packs now. A pickup game began. Rodney suddenly looked overwhelmed. A couple of fathers offered to hit grounders, keep the books, whatever they could do to assist. Another man showed up and said he, too, wanted to coach.

    By that afternoon, Rodney figured that he’d talked to about a hundred people. When Kelley, the league president, stopped by to see how things were going, she found dozens of kids calling themselves Eagles. They threw like shot-putters, swung bats like axes, ran shrieking through the infield with little clue what they were doing.

    It was hard not to chuckle, watching them swirl around Rodney as he tried to figure out what to do next. His sister Darlene showed up and was startled by the sight.

    “Where did you get those kids?” she said, aghast. “They cannot play baseball.”

    Rodney didn’t care. The hardest part, in his mind, was over; he now had something to work with, something that he could shape into a team. It would not be pretty. But it would happen. Finally. He couldn’t wait to get started.

    “That’s all right,” Rodney told his sister. “I’m-a teach them.”

    Copyright © 2013 by Jonathan Schuppe

    Jonathan Schuppe is a national enterprise reporter for NBC's local news websites and a former staff writer at the Newark Star-Ledger



    Photo Credit: Jennifer Brown / The Star-Ledger

    Newark Eagles Little League team player William Jones gives Coach Rodney Mason a high-five as he arrives at practice at the practice field at Weequahic Park on May 15, 2008.Newark Eagles Little League team player William Jones gives Coach Rodney Mason a high-five as he arrives at practice at the practice field at Weequahic Park on May 15, 2008.

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    Yale University officials have contacted New Haven Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and increased security after graffiti threatening arson at a Jewish center on the university campus was discovered in a school bathroom late last month.

    On April 22, graffiti found on a bathroom wall at the Sterling Chemistry Lab on Prospect Street said someone will set fire to the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life on May 16.

    May 16 is the second night of the Jewish holiday Shavout, which celebrated the day God gave the Torah to Israel.

    "Everything has to be taken seriously because you never know," Tom Conroy, university spokesman, said.

    In addition to calling the New Haven Police and the FBI to increase security in the area around the center, school officials have also contacted the Connecticut regional office of the Anti-Defamation League for consultation on dealing with the situation.

    University officials said they will go ahead with the already planned events for the night of May 16.

    "We're going to be here. There are going to be a lot of people here," David Rose, of the board of trustees for the Slivka Center, said. "Hopefully this is just a joke."

     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Security is increased after a message was found threatening arson at the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life on the second night of the Jewish holiday Shavout.Security is increased after a message was found threatening arson at the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life on the second night of the Jewish holiday Shavout.

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  • 05/08/13--04:06: One Dead in Simsbury Crash

  • One person was killed in a crash in Simsbury early Wednesday morning.

    Two people were inside an SUV that crashed on Owens Brook Boulevard near Horseshoe Circle at 12:42 a.m., police said.

    The driver was ejected and died of his injuries at St. Francis Hospital.

    Another occupant in the vehicle sustained non-life threatening injuries and was taken to St. Francis Hospital for treatment.

    When first responders arrived, the SUV was resting on the roof.

    The crash is currently under investigation.

     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    One person was killed in a crash in Simsbury early Wednesday morning.One person was killed in a crash in Simsbury early Wednesday morning.

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    Police have arrested a 56-year-old Ashford man after finding more than 100 marijuana plants, 2-and-a-half pounds of marijuana and illegal fireworks at his house, according to state police.

    Members of the State Police Statewide Narcotic Task Force, Troop C Troopers and agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency Hartford office executed a search and seizure warrant at 122 Nagy Road in Ashford on Tuesday. 

    Inside they found more than 100 marijuana plants, 2.5 pounds of marijuana pre-packaged for sale, $2,100, drug paraphernalia, cultivation and packaging material and illegal fireworks, according to state police.

    The state police bomb squad seized the fireworks.

    Hartman was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, cultivation of marijuana, operating a drug factory and possession of fireworks.

    Bond was set at $75,000 and he is due in Danielson Superior Court on May 22.
     



    Photo Credit: NBCMiami.com

    Police said they found more than 100 marijuana plants in an Ashford home.Police said they found more than 100 marijuana plants in an Ashford home.

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    A Derby police officer claims someone tampered with a water bottle inside of his police cruiser while he was visiting the Splash Car Wash in Shelton in March.

    Shelton Police aren’t releasing the officer’s name but said a policeman came in March 30 to file the complaint and said he believed an employee at the car wash contaminated the water.

    “He went in he got his car washed, he left (the) water bottle open in his car. He went to take a drink afterward and he said he thought it smelled funny and tasted funny, ” Lt. Bob Kozlowsky, of Shelton Police, said.

    Investigators took the bottle as evidence and the state police forensics lab is examining it.

    Police interviewed employees at Splash Car Wash and said the owner has worked with them throughout the investigation.

    “There are cameras in the business and we have been working with them and they have been cooperative in all of our requests,” Kozlowky said.

    The owner of Splash Car Wash told NBC Connecticut that the Derby Police Department has a fleet account and sent us this statement that, says in part:“…the officer in question still remains a customer of our wash and has been back to wash his car since the incident occurred. We take every customer claim seriously and investigate them fully, even if we believe they are erroneous.”

    Derby police wouldn’t comment on the case, but did say there is an ongoing personnel matter with the officer, unrelated to this incident.

    Shelton investigators are waiting for the forensics test results, which will determine how police will move forward with the case.
     



    Photo Credit: AP

    A police officer claims someone tampered with his water bottle while he was at a car wash in Shelton.A police officer claims someone tampered with his water bottle while he was at a car wash in Shelton.

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    Route 6 Connector in Farmington is closed in both directions between Finneman Road and the Route 10 cutoff because of a crash, according to Farmington police.

    Minor injuries are reported.

    No additional information was immediately available.
     


    Route 6 in Farmington is closed in both directions.Route 6 in Farmington is closed in both directions.

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    Police believe the man who robbed a Subway restaurant in Bridgeport Tuesday night also robbed a convenience store in Milford a short time later.

    According to police, the man pulled a large, silver revolver inside the Subway at 2835 Fairfield Avenue around 8:55 p.m. He was dressed in all black and wore a black mask, but pulled the mask down at one point, revealing his face.

    The gunman walked out of the restaurant with an undisclosed amount of money.

    Police hope a surveillance video of the robber will help someone identify him.

    Around 9:40 p.m., the same man robbed the Quick Stop Convenience store at 186 Bridgeport Avenue in Milford, according to police.

    A witness in Milford told police the man drove off in a silver or white Acura CL with blue colored LED headlights.

    Anyone with information is asked to call Bridgeport Detective Fiumidinisi at 203-581-5246 or Milford Detective Thomas Bassett at 203-783-4727.



    Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police

    A surveillance camera captured an image of the man police said robbed a Subway on Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport Tuesday night.  The same man is suspected of robbing a gas station in Milford a short time later.A surveillance camera captured an image of the man police said robbed a Subway on Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport Tuesday night. The same man is suspected of robbing a gas station in Milford a short time later.

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    A 16-year-old is responsible for placing a noose inside a bathroom at a park in New Hartford, according to state police.

    The noose was discovered hanging from the back of a door at Brodie Park around 8 a.m. on Monday.

    New Hartford recreation director Dennis Minor contacted police about the noose and police began an investigation.

    It was found just two days after Minor, who is black, held an event at Brodie park to announce his candidacy for first selectman.

    During the investigation, a 16-year-old admitted to placing the noose in the bathroom while attending an meeting at Berkshire Hall in the park on Sunday. He told police it was a prank and that he had no idea Minor worked in the building. The teen said he had no intention to intimidate anyone of any race, police said.

    State police do not plan to file charges. The teen said he will personally apologize to Minor.



    Photo Credit: Town of New Hartford

    Police are investigating after this noose was discovered in the men's bathroom at a New Hartford park.Police are investigating after this noose was discovered in the men's bathroom at a New Hartford park.

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    The Norwich Ice Rink has shut its doors for the 2nd time in 3 months.

    Figure skaters and hockey players who call the Norwich Ice Rink home are scrambling to find ice time after the rink suddenly shut down.

    The chiller, which keeps the ice at a constant temperature, failed earlier this week and the Norwich Ice Rink Authority has to figure out whether to replace the chiller or repair. Both options are costly and may take several months to resolve.

    The latest problem with the chiller comes just months after the equipment was repaired at a cost of $70,000.

    Ashley Foy is the director of the Norwich Figure Skating Club and has been working with her students to find nearby ice rinks now that their home rink is closed.

    "When I called all of my students they were surprised,” Foy said. “They didn't think this type of thing would happen so soon after it just happened in February and it was closed for quite a while."

    The Norwich Ice Rink is losing revenue each day it remains closed. The rink is owned by the city of Norwich but is operated by the Norwich Ice Rink Authority whose members are appointed by the city council.

    Foy is helping her figure skaters find other arrangements. "The Bolton ice arena is about 40-45 minutes from Norwich. Cromwell is another 40-45 minutes and Simsbury is about an hour away," Foy said.

    How long a repair or replacement will take remains to be seen. The authority held an emergency meeting Tuesday night and is still trying to figure out a solution.

     


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    Between 3 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday, thieves broke into five different houses in Vernon and burglarized them as residents were sleeping. Another resident reported someone trying to break into a third home, but the resident apparently scared off the intruder.

    Police said the residential burglaries happened on Dailey Circle, Morrison Street and Highland Avenue. There were also two break-ins on Grand Avenue, according to officials.

    Police received the first report at 3:45 a.m. when a resident of Morrison Street called 911 to report that someone had broken into his or her home. The caller could hear someone walking around.

    Police said the intruder came in through an unlocked door, stole items and money and fled, police said.

    Several Vernon police officers responded but did not find anyone.

    At 4:13 a.m., Vernon Police received another 911 call from a resident on Dailey Circle, reporting that he or she woke to someone trying to break in to the house.

    Police said the intruder tried to enter the house through a first-floor window, but the resident woke up and apparently scared off the intruder before he or she got inside.

    Several Vernon police officers and a K9 Unit responded and checked the area but did not find anyone there either.

    Then, around 7 a.m., a resident on Highland Avenue woke up and found that her house had been burglarized while she was sleeping. Her pocketbook and other items had been stolen from her house.

    Vernon Police believe the three burglaries are connected and were committed by the same person.

    Police said, statistically, night-time residential burglaries are not very common, but they are issuing warnings.

    Residents should close and lock all ground floor windows while you are sleeping or not at home and lock all doors, particularly with a deadbolt style lock.

    Using motion-sensor spotlights is also recommended.

    Anyone with information to help identify the intruder should call Vernon Police at 860-872-9126.

    Callers can request to remain anonymous.

     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Police are investigating after someone broke into several homes in Vernon overnight.Police are investigating after someone broke into several homes in Vernon overnight.

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    A woman is dead after a house fire in Suffield and officials are trying to determine what started the blaze.

    Fire was reported around 7 p.m. on Wednesday and the house at 1489 Mapleton Ave. was fully engulfed.

    Two people were able to escape from the home, but one woman was trapped.

    Firefighters said the flames compromised the structure, making it impossible for crews to save her.

    “There was so much fire coming out of the house that they made a decision to make it a defensive fire,” Capt. Mike Thibedeau, of the Suffield Fire Department, said.

    Firefighters found the woman's body on the second floor of the home. Her name and age have not been released.

    Neighbors said the fire was fierce.

    "It was so rapid, almost like an explosion," George Baginiski said.

    The woman who was killed had been trying to find her mother after the smoke alarms went off, according to nearby residents.

    “Flames were shooting out … through the roof,” said Ron Ostrowski, who spent Thursday cleaning debris on his property from the fire next door. 

    Neighbors said the woman's boyfriend and mother got out of the house.

    "She was just saying, 'My daughter’s in the house. My daughter’s in the house. My daughter’s in the house.' It was very sad," Rebecca Griffith, a neighbor, said.

    Residents described the family as quiet.

    “They just kept to themselves,” Ostrowski said.

    The cause of the fire remains under investigation.  

    "It's just devastating. It's right in your front yard. ... It's real," said Brian Griffith. 

     

     


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    The Southern California man who formerly voiced the affable “Peanuts” cartoon character Charlie Brown on television was sentenced to jail time Wednesday for threatening and stalking two victims, including his ex-girlfriend.

    Former voice actor Peter Robbins, of Oceanside, was arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Ysidro back in January for allegedly threatening and stalking his ex-girlfriend, Shawna Kern, and plastic surgeon Lori Saltz.

    Investigators say Robbins, 56, began stalking Saltz after she performed a breast enhancement surgery on Kern.

    Robbins resident and Kern broke up following her plastic surgery. Robbins then repeatedly demanded a refund from Saltz, stalking and threatening to kill the surgeon if she didn’t pay him back, according to prosecutors.

    Prosecutors say Robbins also called Kern up to 37 times in a 24-hour period saying he would kill her and her son if she didn’t give back his dog and car.

    On Wednesday, a judge sentenced Robbins to serve one year in county jail. He has already been in jail for about four months.

    In addition to serving jail time, Robbins will also have to enroll in a residential drug treatment program to tackle his problems with substance abuse.

    A judge sentenced Robbins to probation for the next five years and ordered him to pay $15,000 in restitution to Saltz. If he violates his probation, Robbins could serve nearly four years in prison.

    To prevent that from happening, the judge had a few familiar words of advice for Robbins in court:

    “If I can borrow a line from 'Peanuts,' sir, I'm going to grant [you] probation. If you adhere to those terms, you won’t go to prison. So, don’t be a blockhead,” the judge said.

    Robbins cried and cracked a small smile after hearing from the judge. The term “blockhead” is a reference to the Charlie Brown animated character, who was often called a "blockhead" by his “Peanuts” pals.

    Following his sentencing Robbins read a short letter in court addressed to the judge and his victims. Through tears, Robbins expressed remorse for his actions, saying he has “no ill will” toward Kern and Saltz and regrets causing them fear.

    “I’ve taken responsibility for my actions and will openly seek treatment for my alcoholism and prescription medication addictions. I realize this is just the first step toward becoming the fun-loving, respectful person I was and hope to become again," said Robbins.

    Back in January, Robbins’ defense attorney claimed the former “Charlie Brown” actor had no criminal history and had lived in San Diego for more than 30 years without legal woes.



    Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

    Peter Robbins, 56, during his sentencing on Wednesday just moments after a judge told him, Peter Robbins, 56, during his sentencing on Wednesday just moments after a judge told him, "Don't be a blockhead."

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    Propane tanks exploded causing a massive fire that destroyed a Thompson Auto Repair Shop Wednesday.

    Smoke and flames ripped through the K&R Auto Body on Riverside Drive. 15 fire departments, including crews from Massachusetts and Rhode Island, responded.
     
    "It was pretty loud. A couple of explosions, flames really high and a lot of black smoke," said resident Rita Blias.

    Fire officials said the business has been closed for some time. It is unclear what caused the tanks to explode.

    No one was hurt in the fire.



    Photo Credit: Rita Blais

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    Family members of missing ECSU student Alyssiah Wiley scoured a Meriden park on Wednesday night and passed out fliers in hopes that it will lead to clues in her disappearance.

    State police searched Hubbard Park on Wednesday and Wiley's mother, Corrinna Martin, said she'll follow where the search dogs go.

    "Just because they came out doesn't necessarily mean that they covered everything," Martin aid. "There's harder work to be done."

    People Wiley's family had never before met also joined in the search.

    "I just love kids and be here for my support. I hope they find her," said Ernest Riddle of Meriden, who has three daughters of his own. "It makes me very nervous because it could happen to them too. You never know what's going on."

    He was one of handful of volunteers who came out to the park to pass out fliers and canvass the neighborhood.

    "We just want to help out. Plus I have children. I'd want people to come out and help me," Kelly Reynolds, of of Guilford, said.

    Alyssiah, a sophomore at Eastern Connecticut State, was last seen on April 20 in the area of a Dairy Queen on Main Street in Willimantic.

    State police said they've been vetting every lead they have.

    "So I'm just asking any and everyone out there if you would please find it in your heart to come and help us," Martin said. "Your presence is so missed not only by your family but by people that don't even know you."

    Alyssiah's mom is hoping even more volunteers show up Thursday and Friday when they will be here again passing these fliers out. They plan to go to Meriden mall to try and gather information there over the weekend.
     



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    Family members of Alyssiah Wiley scoured a park in Meriden looking for clues in the SCSU student's disappearance.Family members of Alyssiah Wiley scoured a park in Meriden looking for clues in the SCSU student's disappearance.

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    A Washington, D.C., pediatrician was charged Wednesday with possession of child pornography.

    Robert Paul Dickey, 73, runs his office out of his home on 38th Street SE, near the Maryland border. He had been scheduled to see about 20 patients Wednesday when authorities arrived to search his home and office.

    "Officers observed that the defendant had been viewing a website with child pornography and child erotica on the desktop computer when they entered the office," according to the charging documents.

    Authorities seized multiple electronic devices from Dickey's home and office, including a desktop computer and an additional hard drive that contained images of child pornography and child erotica.

    The images depicted naked children, and both girls and boys being forced into sex acts.

    Dickey admitted to law enforcement agents that he has visited child pornography sites, downloaded child pornography and stored it on an external hard drive, the police documents say.

    The investigation began in April when Microsoft alerted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that someone with a Microsoft Outlook email address and the user name Robert Dickey uploaded about 14 images of child pornography, according to authorities.

    Two children reside in Dickey's home. Documents say they are Dickey's grandsons, an infant and a boy around nine years old.



    Photo Credit: NBCWashington.com

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